Stump Lake Village Threshing Bee will shine spotlight on area history

The Stump Lake Village's signature event is the annual threshing bee which draws a few thousand visitors each year to the event and for many of them, is the last family gathering of the summer.

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Roger Gunderson pitches bundles into a threshing machine at Stump Lake Village on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, during the 24th Annual Stump Lake Threshing Bee. Ann Bailey/Grand Forks Herald

PEKIN, N.D. – The Stump Lake Village Threshing Bee will be held over Labor Day weekend, carrying on a 25-year tradition.

The event on Sunday, Sept. 5, and Monday, Sept. 6, has been held on the first weekend in September at the historical village, every year since 1995, except last year when COVID-19 was a safety concern.

The threshing bee was started by members of the Nelson County Historical Society, who thought it would be a good way to showcase the grounds and demonstrate the history they wanted to preserve, said Diane Swenson, a Stump Lake Village volunteer.

The village, made up of more than a dozen buildings, includes a barn, log cabin and school. A variety of events, including band concerts, speakers portraying historical North Dakota characters and North Dakota Historical Society exhibits are on display at Stump Lake Village throughout the year.

The village’s signature event is the annual threshing bee, which draws a few thousand visitors each year to the event, and for many of them, is the last family gathering of the summer.


“I think they look at it as an opportunity to spend time with their families and to get in touch with their heritage,” Swenson said.

During the past quarter century, the number of threshing bee events and the amount of people who have attended them have grown, Swenson said. About 900 people typically eat at the thresherman’s breakfast on Sunday, and another 600 to 700 come to Monday’s breakfast. Breakfast includes eggs, hash brown potatoes, sausage and pancakes with homemade chokecherry syrup, food representative of what a threshing crew would have eaten before heading out for the day’s work.

Besides the breakfast, another popular event at the threshing bee is a parade, held both Saturday and Sunday, which features old-time cars and tractors. The parade draws entries from Nelson, Walsh, Grand Forks and Griggs counties, Swenson said.

There also are demonstrations of a working sawmill, butter churning, broommaking, and, of course, threshing. Meanwhile, working small engines will be on display in the engine building.

There also will be musical entertainment during the two-day event ,and a craft show which has a combined 70 venders and artisans. Five food trucks offering a variety of fare will be on hand at the threshing bee.

Events for children include a petting zoo featuring emu, sheep and a sheep dog. There also is children’s tractor pull and barrel rides for children at the threshing bee.

The Stump Lake Village Threshing Bee begins at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, and on Monday, Sept. 6.

Admission to the threshing bee is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. There is no charge for children younger than 6. The admission bracelet is good for both days.


Stump Lake Village is 12 miles south of Lakota, N.D., on Highway 1.

Information: and click on “village events.”

Related Topics: HISTORY
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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